Forsaking Women and Children

Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Iowa, Indiana & Utah have submitted unlawful anti-abortion legislation in an attempt to undermine Roe vs. Wade. Interestingly, these states consistently pay the least toward education, pre-natal care, healthcare, welfare, drug rehabilitation, mental health, child-care, adoption services, foster services and children’s programs. These ill-conceived laws condemn unwanted children to poverty stricken, unloving homes or state facilities. Future children will too often be born to drug addicts who pass that addiction to their babies because access to affordable pre-natal and drug cessation care is scarce. Many will suffer educationally, emotionally and physically for their entire lives and will be dependent on others for their care. These states have made it clear that there are no plans to aid their state’s forced human incubators or their fetuses and have repeatedly proven that they will abandon these babies once they’re born.

The suggestion that a few of these states care for females because they list the life of the woman as an exception to their law is disingenuous. Pregnancy by its very nature is life threatening to the woman in every instance. It should always be the choice of the pregnant woman whether she wants to put her life in danger and subject her body to the extreme trauma of pregnancy and childbirth.

I have seen this quote a lot recently, “women should just keep their knees together”, **insert eye roll here! I could certainly add dozens of demeaning quotes about male anatomy and sexuality but will refrain because attempts at demonizing genders or sexual relations is just stupid.

Birth control fails regularly and reliable methods can be expensive and hard to find depending on where you live. Not to mention, one in five women are raped. They should not have to worry about being forced into months of further physical and emotional trauma in order to give birth to their rapist’s child. It’s believed that only 30% of affected children report incest and studies show that there are at least 20 million survivors of incest in the USA. They need recourse. Rape or not, women are too often abandoned and left to suffer with unwanted pregnancies alone, without help or resources, leaving them in a state of lifelong poverty if they keep the child after birth.

There are also misleading statements about adoption. Most states have children languishing in foster care because there are not enough adults willing to adopt a child with the slightest mental disability, physical deformity or behavior issues. Some are never placed simply because their birth mother didn’t give them up as an infant and they enter the system as an older child. Without services, access to higher education, monetary allocation and caring adults these children too often end up homeless, incarcerated or dependent on government services. A considerable amount of taxpayer dollars would need to be allocated to give these forced-birth children a fighting chance.

My bible only mentions abortion once, Numbers 5-Bitter Waters, which says it’s acceptable. Additionally, Genesis 2:7, Ezekiel 37:5-6 & Job 33:4 all confirm life starts at first breath.  There are biblical references used to attack abortion but they are flimsy, cultural interpretations used to control women and have little to do with Jesus. Bogus biblical arguments mean nothing to women seeking abortions, and these already traumatized women should not be forced to conform to male-centric religious principle, especially false doctrine. Life does not begin at conception but at first breath. This is true scientifically AND biblically.

Unsafe, back alley abortions have made a startling comeback in communities that have driven out women’s healthcare facilities. That breaks my heart.

Considering the lack of pre-natal care, pediatric medical services, child care facilities and basic children’s support, this proposed legislation is unbelievably inhumane for everyone involved. Instead of insisting that we bring more children into this world, these states should use their resources to improve the lives of children who are already born. There is no moral high ground here. These laws are about controlling women and taking away their rights, period.

I do not understand…

I have been advocating for my child and LGBTQ people as a whole for a while. I love this community with all my heart. They know far too much about suffering, rejection, self-harm, damaging campaigns and calls for their extermination and yet can still manage to love, support and advocate for others. Many are attempting to break down closet doors, educate society and live in authenticity even though that can be dangerous. Others are simply trying to live their lives and want everyone else to peacefully do the same. They are united by an atypical bond, shared experiences and public dissection that too often includes ridicule, rage, discrimination and violence yet their motto remains Love is Love.

There is a section of our society that refuses to accept anyone who doesn’t look, sound or behave exactly as they do and no amount of truth or logic will change that bent. I have no words or time for them.

It’s the people of faith or those that consider themselves to be of good character. The ones that participate in society and help people in need. The ones that listen compassionately and try to have open minds. The people that claim to hate no one. The people that raise their families to be a positive light in this world and yet still refuse to acknowledge LGBTQ people’s basic human rights. How do I understand them?

Family members who are reluctant to welcome us into their home because it complicates their lives. Longtime friends who say they love our family and yet openly defend measures that exclude my child from society. Why should I trust my evangelical friends’ counsel on anything regarding God, faith and love knowing they are judging my child for how they were born and judging me for loving them unconditionally?

We live in an age of discovery, technology and innovation. How can generally well educated people completely discount studies in genetics, physiology, sexuality and gender? How can they ignore painstaking theological examination that suggests biblical clobber verses don’t hold up to scrutiny? I am not saying they need to agree. I am asking why, when there are so many lives at stake do they refuse to educate themselves? Why, when there is so much evidence to the contrary do they suggest that being LGBTQ is a choice and a lifestyle?

It is hateful to say or condone the idea that gay and transgender people are a public threat and should conform to societal norms or tenuous biblical standards.

I no doubt offended someone because I suggested that their beliefs are hateful and yet they will continue to endorse governmental discrimination, religious exclusion and potentially fatal conversion therapy methods. There are few actions more hateful than rejecting a person’s humanity, insisting they live a life devoid of loving companionship and implying their death is preferable to their existence. Yes, hate is the right word.

I find the rebuttals “apparently diversity doesn’t go two ways” and “we’ll just agree to disagree” laughable. It implies there is an equal dichotomy in relation to gain and loss.

LGBTQ people can lose love, family, relationship, self-worth, mental health, marriage, employment, housing, legal and consumer rights. In the face of such loss and hate they can lose their lives by their own hand or another’s.

What is the other side losing? Their right to tell people that they will not accept them and that they are going to hell?

When they choose to reject scientific, psychological and biblical research to continue on a course that inflicts only pain and suffering, they are the ones making the choice. An ugly choice that I will never understand.

Thoughts and Prayers Rebuffed…

I feel fortunate not to have a petty, thin-skinned, retaliatory God. There is strength in knowing that he hears our rage, weeping, and lamentations with a loving heart.

We have witnessed children’s suffering, heard their frustration and cries for action. Why the incensed, shouting voices aimed at teenagers that have faced evil and survived while witnessing their classmates being slaughtered? Is it because we know that we have not done enough to protect them? Is it a personal affront to our belief in prayer? Does it feel like an attack on our faith?

God doesn’t need us to defend him. He is above insults and while he delights in our worship and praise, He also understands that we need to put our sorrow into words. His faithful are not listening but He is. He sees what we value. He sees the seeds that we have sown. He sees our fruit.

He is a God that saves us, but also asks that we honor him by serving those in pain without judgement and condemnation. I am a person of faith and I agree with the statement that thoughts and prayers are not enough.

Those of us that have been blessed need to serve. We need to reach out. We need to Love. Most importantly we need to make this earth – God’s creation – a place worth living in. A place where weapons are not used daily to kill and maim. If you’re worked up about your thoughts and prayers not being appreciated, then please ask yourself why. Why are they not received well and Why are you so offended because they aren’t? Some self-reflection is in order now more than ever. How are you revealing the love of Christ?

This is what I do know, the USA has made guns an idol. This golden calf goes on for miles and is made of millions of pieces of metal. An idol that kills God’s beloved children by the hour and yet we worship it above Him every single day. We ensure its continued existence, so is it any wonder that God is not moved by our prayers for safety from it? We have no right to be offended in the face of irreverence since we have set the example.

First, Do No Harm…

It has become increasingly difficult to find common ground with Trump supporters in the face of their vocal or tacit endorsement of the current administration’s attacks on women, citizens with disabilities, minorities, immigrants, refugees and LGBTQIA people. There are wide-ranging opinions about how to govern this country and its diverse population but there is a stark difference between attacking policies and attacking people. This country’s legacy of hope and freedom has been threatened by the continued assaults on individual rights. Most of my countrymen believe in responsible spending, curbing excessive taxation and dependable law enforcement, but this isn’t really about taxes, jobs and protection. Immigrants are not being hired over citizens unless they are significantly more qualified, our tax rate is lower than almost all industrialized nations and our incarceration rate, along with defense spending, is the highest in the world. There are states that have been hard hit economically and their suffering must be addressed, but blaming people that have not caused the problem is useless. We can make hard decisions, but the right to discriminate is never an acceptable objective. Those that claim that right in the name of political causes or religious observance are making a mockery of this country and their God.

Few people are in favor of unfettered immigration but arresting long term undocumented residents and tearing apart families is a heartless response to inadequate monitoring and inconsistent immigration policies.

Refugees often experience unthinkable atrocities and deserve compassion and assistance. Thorough screening and safe paths to repatriation should be required but blanket rejections should not.

Streamlining governmental assistance for the elderly and those with disabilities may be in order but defunding long term programs without impact studies is irresponsible.

Women are equal contributors to our nation and deserve equal opportunities, pay and respect. It should go without saying that officials that make inappropriate remarks about female appearance or behave in lewd ways are not acceptable representatives.

The foundation of our country has been laid by the blood of immigrants and on the backs of slaves. The injustices of the past should not be continued into our future. Opportunity and justice should not be dependent on a person’s heritage or the color of their skin.

Lastly, People that are born LGBTQIA deserve every right accorded them as human beings. Sexual orientation and gender identity is not a choice or a lifestyle. Those are words used by groups wanting to perpetuate their hateful and exclusionary biases. Humans have been born queer since the beginning of recorded time. Misusing biblical verses about sexual immorality and applying them to people who were born sexually different from the majority is wrong. Creating legislation that takes away rights and punishes them for who they are is an insult to the loving God who created them and flies in the face of Christianity’s greatest commandment.

Every person is valuable and deserves to be represented and protected. Our government should never be on a mission to facilitate hate and intolerance. Focusing on personal achievement and promoting legislation that fosters individual success is the only way to improve this country. When we take away the hope of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we no longer have the United States of America.

One year ago today…

I lean fiscally conservative and socially liberal, ~ Yes, that may be an oxymoron.

Our two-party+ system can be acrimonious and impotent, but we once respected each other, living together, wanting the best for our neighbors and ourselves. It was okay to disagree on how to achieve balance between differing agendas, and our elected officials at least pretended they were fighting for all of our country’s people. The snail’s pace worked well for a long time.

Somewhere along the line both sides of the aisle were allowed to re-draw political checks and balances which created a palpable hatred amongst our representatives that has expanded into our neighborhoods. “The other” has become larger in minds and hearts. We have fallen into an us against them mentality that is killing our nation and our current administration is only partly to blame, but make no mistake, over the past year things have gotten so much worse.

Our president is not being held accountable for his actions against humanity and is inexplicably being given cover by alt-right evangelicals. The national displeasure with our current administration is more than a liberal vs. conservative crusade. It is a fight for America’s heart.

It is time to say and support the idea that just because someone is different from ourselves, it doesn’t make them bad. It is time to accept the fact that the indigenous people of our country are the ONLY ones that are not immigrants or descendants of slaves. It is time that every person regardless of pigment is treated uniformly under the law. It is time that women are respected equally in the workplace and at home. It is time that we embrace the truth that being LGBTQI is not a lifestyle – It is how they were born. It is time that people of faith are allowed to worship and not be tormented because their faith may be different from their neighbor’s faith. To my loves, the people of my faith, we must continue walking with our Savior by living His greatest commandment. Our example makes a difference and is immensely more important than our politics.

This may be an oxymoron too, but FIGHT FOR LOVE.

Know what you’re fighting for…

It has been disheartening to watch friends loudly pronounce “facts” that are misleading or untruthful because they saw it somewhere online. We blindly follow groups of people and we state their truth because it’s similar to ours without considering their motivation and end game.

Discussions regarding racial justice, historical preservation, equal rights, fair taxation, healthcare, employment, minority empowerment, religious authority, commerce and constitutional interpretation are all honorable debates. They have been part of a healthy dialogue for centuries but when wars are started over them, you can bet that it’s not for their advancement. It is about power and profit that only a select few will benefit from.

Education doesn’t guarantee agreement but it does strengthen our ability to appreciate what makes governments and social structures work. It spurs debate, empowers citizenry and enables reconciliation.

The polar right and left are blinding us to reality. Without truth there is no law, no justice, no government, no education. A land without those things does not serve us, it makes someone else rich and powerful. We follow along on someone else’s path thinking that it is our own. The only way to make our own decisions and fight our own wars is through knowledge and education. Media talking points are not education. Social media is not where we find truth. Both are being manipulated by people with sinister agendas and we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. We are being pitted against each other and we are the dogs being wagged.

Oh, How We Babel…

We exhibit our faith through worship and works, but what that looks like is very different from person to person. In order to better fine tune our works and actions we look to religious leaders to point the way and ignite the spirit. What do we do when these leaders disagree and are in some cases diametrically opposed? The disagreement within the American church goes way deeper than evangelical vs. progressive and law vs. grace. My journey finds me in totally different places on those lines depending on the day.

Theologians have debated for centuries over our faith-based responsibility to interpret and encourage biblical ideals. That debate can be healthy and enlightening and their conclusions speak to believers in varying ways. Problems arise when theologians with differing views claim absolute authority on biblical knowledge. In reality, the only human that has that claim is Jesus Christ.

It is not business as usual within the church. Adjustments appear to be happening so that we get back to the debate and acknowledge that our ever-powerful God is the only one with the answers to our questions yet those answers aren’t packaged in a nice, easy to understand biblical box. He is showing us that lifting up religious leaders to the point of worship and blind trust is catastrophic to the human condition.

I do not think there should be less theologians. Quite the opposite, there should be more people willing to read, analyze and research scripture while having reasonable discussions with others (believers or not) about their discoveries. Agreement is not imperative. We serve God better when we all listen to each other. Learn, share, empathize, console, and on rare occasion, advise. Thoughtful discussion requires humility and opened mindedness NOT acquiescence. ~Heaven knows I struggle with that one and need occasional reminders. We have to stop beating each other up and questioning one another’s conviction. We can faithfully trust and worship what is bigger than us while still believing in US.

The Bride of Christ can thrive within discord only when we trust in God’s great love and stop warring with each other over dominance and perceived truth.

 

I find it hilariously relevant that my first blog post is on April Fools Day since I often think my ramblings are brilliant at 2AM while my 8AM self wonders why I indulge such a babbling fool.